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I recently had some fin rot and dropsy appear in my tank, these are attributed to bacterial infection and are said to be a result of poor water quality.
I want to understand the meaning behind this expression and figure out what i should be doing differently.
I am slack on water changes and rarely siphon, i had some large scale melting of plants recently and there is a fair bit of broken down organic matter in the water column.

"Poor water quality" can this be pin pointed?
High nitrates/phosphates?
High dissolved organics?
High TDS?
Lack of flow that induces bacterial growth through some mechanism?
Lack of Oxygen?

a combination of the above?

What are your thoughts
 

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I recently had some fin rot and dropsy appear in my tank, these are attributed to bacterial infection and are said to be a result of poor water quality.
I want to understand the meaning behind this expression and figure out what i should be doing differently.
I am slack on water changes and rarely siphon, i had some large scale melting of plants recently and there is a fair bit of broken down organic matter in the water column.

"Poor water quality" can this be pin pointed?
High nitrates/phosphates?
High dissolved organics?
High TDS?
Lack of flow that induces bacterial growth through some mechanism?
Lack of Oxygen?

a combination of the above?

What are your thoughts
Hi Remmy,

"Poor water quality" is sort of a generic all-encompassing term. There are several items that can cause poor water quality either individually or in combination. Actually you named several of them:
High nitrates/phosphates? -YES
High dissolved organics? - YES
High TDS? - Not necessarily unless the fish species needs soft water
Lack of flow that induces bacterial growth through some mechanism? I would more describe it as poor filtration and/or poor housekeeping (i.e. remove detritus, clean filter, etc.)
Lack of Oxygen? Sort of goes with flow/filtration

a combination of the above? ABSOLUTELY

When I managed a LFS (decades ago) the most common problem was overfeeding which contributed to water with high levels of bacteria; a breeding ground for all sorts of fungal or bacterial diseases.
 

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i recently posted re "poor water" http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9156569-post20.html

you don't mention species affected by fin rot and dropsy. Check their ideal pH range(s). Does the range extend below a pH of 7.0? is your pH above 7.0? if so, there it is. Bingo. Quite simple really. Maintaining soft/acidic water for species which can thrive in it is the most crucial, and most neglected, aspect in aquaria - i wrote of that recently as well http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9169714-post4.html

I'm following a few threads on this forum re Ich and salt and very hot water. Let's see how these turn out, for species which really just need soft/acidic water to permanently dissolve all that white gunk growing on their scales. (An ounce is prevention is worth a gallon of cure.)
 

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High dissolved organics will lead to most of the other problems. High nitrates/phosphates really aren't what I consider poor water quality. They will lead to problems but on there own I would not classify them as problems. If you have fish you will have nitrates and phosphates are more of a fertilizer. But if you let a lot dissolved organics build your water will be polluted.
 

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Hi Remmy.this is a very telling quote"I am slack on water changes and rarely siphon"
Regular water changes can heel and prevent a lot of issues.If you have a fairly large tank invest in a python water changer and pick a day and time each week and do a 50% water change and see what happens.Good luck...
 

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You can add having a substrate that is growing cyanobacter or have anaerobic pockets getting disturbed.
I never know how you can spot rotten spots in those black diamond sand heaps.
 

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i recently posted re "poor water" http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9156569-post20.html

you don't mention species affected by fin rot and dropsy. Check their ideal pH range(s). Does the range extend below a pH of 7.0? is your pH above 7.0? if so, there it is. Bingo. Quite simple really. Maintaining soft/acidic water for species which can thrive in it is the most crucial, and most neglected, aspect in aquaria - i wrote of that recently as well http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9169714-post4.html

I'm following a few threads on this forum re Ich and salt and very hot water. Let's see how these turn out, for species which really just need soft/acidic water to permanently dissolve all that white gunk growing on their scales. (An ounce is prevention is worth a gallon of cure.)
I don't believe that pH is a critical parameter. We prove that it isn't when we use pressurized CO2, and drive the pH down by about 1.0-1.2. Rarely does that cause health problems for the fish, if it ever does. Also, we shut off the CO2 when the lights are off, and the pH goes back up by about the same amount. This becomes routine for the fish, and they do fine. Measuring pH became the "thing to do" when pH was the only easy to measure parameter for the water. But, pH is a result of the mineral content of the water, the organic acid content, the CO2 content, etc. Today we can easily measure mineral content, and have found that that is a much more important parameter.
 
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